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Kinship care

Information about the rights and responsibilities of kinship carers.

What is kinship care?

Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child’s social network when a child cannot live with their parents.

Aboriginal kinship care is care provided by relatives or friends to an Aboriginal child who cannot live with their parents, where Aboriginal family and community and Aboriginal culture are valued as central to the child’s safety, stability and development. The Aboriginal kinship services are operating in every region of the state.

Statutory kinship placements occur when a Child Protection intervention has occurred and a decision has been made to place a child with relatives or a significant friend, and may also involve an order made by the Children’s Court.

Private, informal or non-statutory kinship care are terms which may be used to describe arrangements where children are cared for by relatives without any Child Protection intervention.

Support for kinship carers

The Victorian Government funds 29 metropolitan and regionally based kinship care services to improve the supports available for children growing up in kinship care. These community-based services provide a range of cultural and support services for children in kinship care and their families close to where they live.

These include:

  • information and advice
  • family support services (available to all kinship carers)
  • intensive support services for the most vulnerable children placed in kinship care as a result of child protection involvement.

Kinship carers need Working with children checks

From 1 May 2017 all Victorian kinship carers will need to get a working with children check. The carer will need to get this card within 21 days of a child being placed in their care. Carers who already have a working with children check card will need to update their details to include their status as a kinship carer.

Any adult person living in the house of a kinship carer will also need to get a working with children check.

See Department of Human Services—Child protection manual—Kinship care (link below)

More information


Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

The department site has information to support kinship carers.

See Department of Health and Human Services—Kinship, foster & other care(opens in a new window)

DHHS Child Protection Manual

This site has information for kinship carers about applying for a working with children check.

See Department of Human Services—Child protection manual—Kinship care(opens in a new window)